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If your child is missing – where to go? Advice from the Lviv regional police

In the first three months of 2024, the police of Lviv region received 112 reports of missing children, 57 of whom were minors. All children were found, 110 of them within a day after the report was registered.

There are many reasons why children go missing.

The first of them is simple disorientation. A child loses visual control with an adult, gets lost and cannot return to their parents or home on their own. This can happen to very young children and if adults do not keep a close enough eye on the kids.

There are cases when children deliberately run away and do not return home – because of violence from adults, conflicts, quarrels, self-assertion or just for fun. Neither wealthy nor poor families are immune to such situations.

There are also much more complex reasons why a child runs away from home. Sometimes only an experienced psychologist can identify them, as they are hidden deep in the child’s subconscious.

Whatever the reason for the child’s disappearance, parents or guardians need to act immediately and according to a clear algorithm:

Make sure that the child is really missing. The signs may be as follows: the child did not return home at a certain time, does not answer phone calls, does not get in touch, no one around him or her can tell you where he or she is at the moment. However, this does not mean that the child is really missing. Parents should take all measures to make sure that their son or daughter is not late at school, at a club, at training, at friends, relatives, neighbors, and so on…
If the child is really missing, call the 102 hotline. When talking to the operator, be sure to tell them: age, gender, special features, what they were wearing, what they had with them, their mobile and bank card numbers, if they had them with them, and any other information that will help in the search. Be sure to provide a “recent” photo of the child.
Remember if there have been any recent quarrels with the child, conflict situations, threats from others, threats from the child to harm themselves or run away from home. Tell the police about it – even if it is not very pleasant.
Talk to neighbors, relatives, teachers, friends, and classmates to find out if the child has told them about their intention to run away, about resentment towards their parents, harassment, or anything else
Check whether the child has documents, cell phones and money.

Police officers start searching for children immediately. Sometimes they involve employees of other services, such as the State Emergency Service, foresters, members of the National Guard of Ukraine, and volunteers.

In 90% of cases, missing children are found within the first few hours after they go missing.

In order to avoid cases when a son or daughter runs away from home, psychologists advise spending more time with the child, knowing about his or her experiences and problems, and being fully involved in the child’s upbringing. If there are incidents and misunderstandings, it is better to consult a specialist – a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Do you know where your child is now?

Communication department of the Lviv regional police

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